Audit and Assurance Director, Jon Routledge, goes under the spotlight!

What is your role within RG?

I am a director within our audit and assurance service line, although I also work with non-audit corporate clients. I work alongside several of our audit partners (or Responsible Individuals, to give them their proper title!).

Generally, my clients fall into one of three categories: manufacturing, professional services or property (both investment and development).

I am a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) as well as a Chartered Accountant so I also get involved in business tax work, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the client and the situation.

Tell me about your career to date…

This is a fairly short story! I graduated from Newcastle University in 2007 and joined RG as a graduate trainee. I chose RG because I went to some recruitment fairs / events which had been put on by the “big four” accountancy firms and generally found them depressing in their uniformity and overly corporate. I wanted a firm where my opportunities would not be limited, but where I would also still be an individual. I think it is fair to say I found it.

Having completed my training contract, I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2010 and then moved in to our personal tax service line for a time, while studying towards my CTA qualification.

Having finally achieved the CTA qualification in 2014 I moved back to audit and assurance and while I have worked on tax projects off and on, I have never seemingly been able to escape the gravitational pull of assurance. I enjoy delving into companies records and having a good poke around to understand how the business works.

What does your current role involve?

In a literal sense it involves managing various audit teams and working with other staff and partners to ensure clients expectations are met, and our work is conducted as smoothly as possible.

I also look after the corporation tax affairs of a portfolio of audit and accounts clients, as well as some tax-only clients.

For the most part my roles involve reviewing the work of other staff, discussing issues with clients, and ensuring compliance deadlines are met.

Every client is different, and every year is different, so every year some one-off work will take place, which will involve co-ordinating with other service lines within RG or other advisors, whether legal, investment or technology. This could be anything from a group re-organisation, remuneration planning, helping with a transition between generations within the same family or assisting with the sale or purchase of all or part of a business.

What makes RG different?

I would hope that it is the way we build longstanding relationships with clients, with specific points of contact and always striving to minimise the disruption to a business while we are carrying out compliance work. As a result of this approach, we can genuinely gain a more in depth understanding of our clients’ businesses.

There are several clients I deal with where I have been involved now for ten years, right through from audit/accounts assistant to director.

I also think we take the same approach internally; there are so many staff here who have been here longer than me, and I’ve been here 13 years now. I’ve been able to achieve everything I wanted to so far in my career, and have pretty much been able to shape my own destiny. I question how many firms of our size would have allowed, or been able to provide that.

My 3 most notable achievements to date would be….

Well I was the first Routledge to go to University, so I guess that is up there.

Without downplaying the hard work which goes in to becoming a Chartered Accountant, becoming a Chartered Tax Adviser whilst working full time with a Senior (and later Manager) workload is something I am very proud of. I’m a member of quite a small band.

Finally becoming a director at the age of 30 has to go on the list.

Tell us about your day so far….

I am not a morning person. If you’re looking for excitement, or just a coherent conversation before 8am, I am not your man.

I am actually one of a small number of staff working in our office in Jesmond full time at the moment. Post lockdown I generally swing by the coffee shop down the road from the office to pick up some caffeine and get in by 8.30, as was the case this morning.

I am working on a large time pressured project at the minute, so that has taken up most of my day.  

As well as working on my due diligence report, I need to keep my ongoing compliance workload moving, so I have also:

  • caught up with one partner regarding progress on an ongoing audit and discussed our approach to two key issues
  • caught up with another partner regarding progress on accounts preparation work for a group of companies and next steps,
  • discussed the provision of information for another client who is looking to emigrate,
  • written an article for our website on the Chancellor’s latest announcements,
  • attended a monthly catch up meeting with the other service line directors and
  • planned in some future audit work.

As well as the above I have continued to deal with emails which have arrived today, the most interesting of which was providing a client with information on car benefits, specifically the advantages of switching to an electric car.

Intervals in my day are generally ruled by my stomach, so I headed home about 5.30 for some food and caught up with my fiancée before heading back to my laptop in the spare room at about half 6.

 What do you enjoy outside of work?

I’m a simple man. I like live music, good beer, good food and old cars. I would put Newcastle United on that list, but I don’t think I’ve enjoyed them since 2004.

The current hiatus caused by the pandemic is the longest I have gone without attending some form of live music in 20 years.

I also like to travel and have a (some would say unhealthy) fascination with the USA. I’ve visited 12 states so far, and I’m hoping to chalk off a few more once travelling is possible again.

I can’t really explain why I find it so interesting. I think it is partly to do with my childhood as I grew up absorbing a lot of American culture. Fortunately, my fiancée seems to share this as she has spent a lot of time across the pond as well.

And finally, leave us with one interesting fact about yourself…

This stumped me for a while, as I don’t generally consider myself very interesting.

I calculated I have been to over 130 live gigs, that includes counting two or three day festivals as one gig, and discounts all the times I’ve been to watch my friends’ bands or other local bands in pubs over the years. I’m sure I have missed some out as the ticket stubs are in a box in the loft which I could not be bothered to dig out!

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